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Have you crossed the "CHASM" yet?

A lot of people have heard of the term "early adopters", "beachhead" and "crossing the chasm", and these terms have been circulating in the startup circles and picked up, but not many people understand or realize the origins of the terms and the meaning behind them.

Many startups are probably languishing in the chasm without knowing. And many more are in it but thought that they had crossed the chasm.

In Michael Moore's classic seminal book "Crossing the Chasm", he popularised the technology adoption lifecycle curve.

See image below.

Most high-tech driven startups are looking for Early adopters, who are the visionaries to work with Pilot projects.

This is where most of the Accelerators are supporting these connections.

Most thought that pilot projects would get them through to the mainstream market stage, but it is only a stepping stone before the chasm. The startup needs to use the pilot projects to test and validate and then DECIDE the key application/use case and beachhead segment.

Sometimes, the more use cases, the more confused the startups are.

To cross the chasm, the beachhead segment and use case has to be clear and committed.

Most languishing startups are because of this lack of commitment and the chicken and egg problem of waiting for the prospect to decide for them.

Energy Transition, which is the shift of the old paradigm to the new paradigm from a Social / Environmental perspective driven by market shift instead of tech-driven. It is the same adoption cycle and groups of customer segments.

The first challenge, where the chasm lies, is the key shift from the Early market into the Early Majority market. That's when the shock happens. That's when, prospects are engaged, get educated, but don't buy.

The chasm is the key test if the product will transition into the Mainstream market, where the real money is. Unfortunately, there are not enough early adopters to meet your TAM aspirations.

The shortfall is that the market-centric Early Majority Buyers purchasing decisions are based on a whole different set of criteria.

How long you languish in the chasm, is how fast you can transition into a full fledge market centric vendor while finding clients to help you build out your whole product and pay you money to survive till you are "good enough" in the eyes of a Pragmatist buyer in the Early Majority market.

The key notable difference is that the budget to buy your product at the Early Majority stage is coming from OPEX, whereas, in the Early Market, it is coming from a CAPEX budget.

And, you know you are onto something, when you need to be in a "COMMON CATEGORY" with other vendors when purchasing.

Which brings me to the point, what happens when the CATEGORY is not CREATED yet? This is when the confusion happens for the Buyer. Unless they know what CATEGORY they are buying, they will not find the vendor for the CATEGORY.

Therein lies the opportunity for Category creators to design and create the category in which one will be compared and compete against.

But, this is the challenge at the Early Majority Stage, which is AFTER you have crossed the Chasm.

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